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Please help- dead hen, others in the flock at risk?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jmonleyplourde, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. Jmonleyplourde

    Jmonleyplourde Hatching

    Sep 4, 2014
    Hi all,

    Thank you in advance for reading and for any help you can provide us. We have been keeping a flock for about 18 months now and have never had a sick bird until now, so we feel very lost. I will try to be as thorough as possible, and I apologize in advance for the length of my post.

    We have a flock of 6 hens, different breeds, who have been together since the spring (no new birds introduced lately). We feed organic, whole grain feed and a bit of scratch in the evenings, as well as veggie scraps from the garden.

    We use a deep leaf litter bedding in both the coop and adjacent run, where the hens are enclosed during the day. During the afternoon/ evening and on the weekends, they free-range on our property.

    Friday afternoon we noticed that our Olandsk Dwarf was making a squeaking/ rasping sound, my husband thought she was sneezing, but there was no sign of mucous. This was not a constant sound, but more periodic, sometimes every 5-10 seconds, sometimes not for several minutes. Otherwise she seemed normal. She was with the other hens, eating and drinking, etc.
    By the evening, her comb was flopped over, very lifeless comb and thinner than usual. She is always very skittish with people, so we could not get a hold of her to check her crop or feel for other masses, and since we did not isolate her, I couldn't tell what her droppings looked like, though she did not have signs of runny stools on her bum. She was roosting with the others that evening.

    She had not laid in the past few days, but had in the past week. She has never been a great layer, maybe 2 eggs per week, and often broody, so lack of egg laying in her case has never been cause for concern.

    On Saturday morning, we added ACV and garlic cloves to their water and some DE to the feed, as I have read that this can help support healthy systems in chickens and possibly clean out internal parasites. We live in an urban area and don't have a local supplier for antibiotics or other chicken meds, or else I would have given her those as well. Since she was moving around fine, scratching, eating and drinking, and keeping with the other birds, I thought it would be okay to monitor her for a day to see if she would improve. I was reading on the forum about some things being viral and some bacterial.

    This morning, she came right out with the others, ate and drank, and the squeaky sound she had been making seemed to lessen somewhat/ sound less wheezy, so these seemed like positive signs.

    Alas, we came home just now and found her dead in the run. We are so sad to lose her, only 2 years old and a special little bird. She laid these tiny white eggs that our daughter loves.

    I would like help trying to figure out what might have afflicted her so that we can respond better in the future to these type of symptoms and to identify any possible triggers? I am also wondering whether the rest of our flock is at risk for having caught something and what to do if they show a similar flopping of comb or respiratory symptoms.

    We love these birds and try to take as good of care of them as we can, though I will admit, we don't see them as members of our family and are not willing to drive far distances to a rural vet. I would like to learn whatever I can to be able to keep them healthy and administer meds at home when needed, which I am sure I can order online. I am just not sure what happened.

    I appreciate any insight you can share.

    Thanks so much,

  2. Ridinggirl1

    Ridinggirl1 Hatching

    Sep 6, 2014
    You should keep an eye on them for a period of time. Keep their cook clean to perfection and make sure that their water is clean as well. You can also put vinegar in their water. Chickens like it and it helps strengthen their immune system.
    I hope thins helps.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. Sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was suffering from a respiratory disease such as infectious bronchitis, mycoplasma (MG,) ILT, coryza, or aspergillosis. Many of these have similar symptoms, so can be difficult to distinguish from each other. If you live in the US, most states have a state veterinarian who can perform a necropsy on a refrigerated body to find a cause of death. Here is a good link to read with symptoms about these diseases to compare: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044

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